Coffee brewing epiphany.
- JeffW Mar 12, 2008 10:08 AM
From the accidental breaking of a Bodum electric coffeemaker, (and my subsequent new brewer), I feel like I'm drinking coffee for the first time.
The coffee maker that broke was interesting. The plastic carafe would contain water, and an upper bowl (with a long tube that lowered into the bottom carafe) would nest on top with a rubber gasket between the two. In the upper bowl, you place your coffee. The water in the lower carafe heats, goes up the tube, mixes with the ground coffee in the upper bowl, and it all does a little simmer for about a minute in this upper bowl. Then a vacuum forms, with the coffee passing through a gold filter, back down into the lower carafe. I always called this brewer an electric French press.
Anyway---the above method is how I've been making coffee for most mornings, and for about 5 years. Our Sunday morning coffee is usually an authentic manual French Press. For both methods I will weigh out 2 oz. of beans, per 32 oz. of water. And I've always enjoyed rich, full bodied coffee.
When my Bodum broke, I went to a nearby Williams Sonoma to check out the different drip coffee brewers that are available, as instinctively I wanted a change from the one I'd been used to. I knew that I wanted a brewer that had a glass carafe, and that would stay hot from a heating plate. I was told that with all of the brewers out there, that they really all worked the same. I decided then to go with something really in-expensive. I ended up at Bed and Bath, and I bought a $29 Mr. Coffee brewer. I also opted for the optional permanent gold filter instead of paper.
My epiphany came when I used the same amount of coffee to water ratio in this new brewer. STRONG is all that I can say. For me, it was coffee heaven. Spousal unit says that it may be a little too strong for him. And so begins my experimentation of using less coffee per amount of water. Maybe I'll try 1.9 oz. coffee per 32 oz. of water, and go from there. What I'm finding interesting is the way that the water sprays over the grounds in undulating waves. It seems to pre-infuse the coffee, during the process. I guess this extracts more of the coffee into the finished brew. I just know that of all methods I've yet to try, I am tasting much more coffee flavor and body from my reasonably priced Mr. Coffee brewer.
I almost bought one of those Bodum vacuum coffee makers when my coffee maker broke. But I read that they are infamous for breaking, so I bought another coffee maker from Bed Bath & Beyond as well, which works fine but is not as good as the coffee machines they use at Peets. I have recently read rave reviews of the Aeropress Espresso Maker (which also makes coffee). I am definitely going to check that out in the near future.
My Bodum vacuum coffee maker also broke recently and, although I got lots of uses out of mine and was very happy with it, I was reluctant to buy another one given the bad reviews of the newer versions.
I really wanted another vacuum maker, but they're somewhat rare and most of them are stove-top rather than electric.
I did some research and found out that a lot of the coffee geeks out there really like the vintage Sunbeam Coffee Master (see photo below) from the 1940s.
I was a bit leery of buying a coffee maker from 60 years ago, but it got such great reviews, they're all over ebay and quite cheap so I ordered mine the other day.
It should be coming in the mail soon. After a very good, thorough cleaning I'll give it a try and report back for anyone who's interested.